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Arts group’s next act: Displaced African-dance center to reopen in new home with day of discounted classes

Tiny dancers: The Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance is celebrating its reopening inside Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Restoration Arts center with a special day of discounted classes for kids and adults on Nov. 11.
Svetlana Didorenko

This studio got its groove back!

A dance center specializing in African-influenced movement is reopening inside a Bedford-Stuyvesant cultural complex on Nov. 11, following its honchos’ two-year search for a new home after being evicted from their old Fort Greene space, which its landlord sold to a luxury high-rise developer.

And to celebrate the new digs, staff at the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance are offering discounted sessions for adults and kids who want to boogie down, according to its executive director.

“All classes on opening day will be $5,” said Jimena Martinez. “We are doing special introductory classes to reassemble our community and to encourage everyone come out and dance.”

The day of discounted tutorials at the center’s new home inside local arts organization Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Restoration Art complex will include lessons in fitness, Afro-Haitian movement, soca, dancehall, Chicago step, and African dance, all of which Martinez said will allow the community to learn different cultures’ take on the art form and embrace an active lifestyle.

“We have beginner classes and a lot of Diaspora-style ones,” she said. “For people who’ve never danced for before, or people who haven’t danced in 15 years, it will be the perfect day to come.”

And instructors — some of whom taught at the old facility — can’t wait to welcome new and former dancers, according to the executive director, who said the staff is thrilled to begin teaching in a community where so many of its pupils reside.

“A lot of our favorite teachers are back, and we’re really excited to be in Bedford-Stuyvesant,” Martinez said. “A lot of our students are from the neighborhood, and we’ve always been a Brooklyn-focused studio, so this is wonderful for us.”

Get your groove on at the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance’s community-dance day [1368 Fulton St. between New York and Brooklyn avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 935–9700, www.cumbedance.org]. Nov. 11, 9:30 am–6 pm. $5.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.

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